Russian Visas Information

Welcome to my Russian Visas Information page, which is really important for you, My Traveler!

Please, please, please keep in your mind that all foreign nationals are required to have Russian entry visa to travel to Russia, which you can obtain at local Russian Embassy or Consulate. You can go to Russian Embassy or Consulate personally or use multiple travel agencies, which offer you Russian visa online services. You need an invitation (yes, you must be invited to Russia before you buy your plane ticket!) from an inviting party in Russia (hotel, travel company, business partner, employer, university, or a Russian friend). You must have a document that proves you have health insurance for Russia covering the period of your Russian visa. You have to give your passport to the Russian consulate and 3 identical passport size pictures (3x4 cm). Passport must be valid for at least six months AFTER the period of your visa. It takes 2-3 weeks before your visa is ready (you might expedite by paying extra). Please remember that will not have your passport at your disposal during this time. If you apply for a visa longer than three months you need a document certifying that you are HIV negative. When you pick up your visa please make sure that all information (your name and dates of traveling) is correct.

Flag Russia

You are obliged to fill in the Russian migration card, which will be given to you when you enter to Russia. Most airplane passengers will receive it from the crew. If your airline does not distribute the cards, don’t worry, you can find it in the airport before the passport control booths. You have to give the same information as you have already given when obtaining your visa. It is important to fill in the name of the inviting company (written in Russian on your visa) and the address of the inviting company. The migration card should be handed over to immigration officials on the border when leaving Russia.

After you arrive in Moscow, Russia be sure to register your visa within 72 hours with the OVIR (Russian Visa and Registration Department). By Russian law, you are required to register in any Russian city where you will spend more than 72 hours. You are normally registered by the person or organization that sent you your invitation. Usually your hotel or inviting party will register you when you check in. If your migration card has not been registered on time, you can expect serious problems at departure. They are ranging from paying a pretty fee to missing your flight. If you are staying in a private apartment it is your choice whether or not to personally register with the OVIR (Russian Visa and Registration Department). I warn you that it will be a big pain. Unless you are desperately want to undergo this very Russian experience. I advise you to go to a travel agency or hotel for registration.

Also, be sure to carry your passport with your visa on you at all times. Policemen have the right to ask you for your documents for no reason actually.


Russian visa

Tourist visa. There are few things to remember when you apply for a tourist visa. This is the most common type of visa for those who are planning just to visit Russia for under a month. You can stay up to 30 days. Regardless of what a Russian consulate tells, I recommend you to apply for maximum time possible. Since tourist visas are much easier to obtain, people who come for a short business trip can simply opt for a tourist visa. Please remember you cannot renew a tourist visa and don’t overstay your Russian visa. If you are planning to stay longer than 30 days, you should apply for a different type of visa (see business visa).

Business visa (multiple-entry). A business visa is technically reserved for those who are travelling to Russia on business. However visitors who travel often to Russia, to visit friends, for work or just because they like the country so much, can do this with a business (multiple-entry) visa. Business visa can be valid from one to 12 months, and can be single- or multiple-entry. To apply for a business visa, you need a business invitation issued by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), and if you're actually coming for business purposes, the company you are visiting should take care of all the formalities. A private person can apply for a business invitation through most travel agencies as well.

Personal (private) visa. You must have really good Russian friends who have lots of free time on their hands if you plan on travelling to Russia on a personal visa. To obtain this visa you must have a private invitation. It is really pain in a neck to get the invitation and quite pricy for your host actually. In the order to have it your Russian host needs to go to the OVIR (Migration Office) for a personal invitation certificate, which takes 30 days. For your local Russian consulate you need the original copy of the invitation for the visa application. Well it is another expense for your host - your host has to send it by post or expensive courier. The positive thing is that you can stay 90 days in Russia with such a guest visa, but it is only a single-entry visa. Don’t forget to register yourself at the OVIR by yourself within thee working days of arriving in Russia.

Student visa. If you come to Russia for a study at a university, institute or school you will get a student visa. Usually the educational institute has a foreign department which takes care of all formalities.

Transit visa. When you travel to another country through Russian territory you need a Russian transit visa. You can obtain this type of visa at your local Russian consulate by giving them the visa application form, 3 identical passport sized photos (3x4cm), your passport with the visa to the country of destination, and a copy of the air, railway or other ticket.


  • Some Russian consulates have their own rules or are more strict. Please ask your local Russian Embassy or Consulate about the latest changes in visa laws.
  • If you want to apply for your visa yourself without using travel agency service, make sure you know the working hours of the visa departments before you go to apply. Russian consulates are closed during Russian holidays (and sometimes also the day after), and usually they also don't work on holidays of the host country.
  • Please be aware that it can be a time-consuming experience if you go to the Russian consulate by yourself. It can take you at least half a day. It is also depends on how prepared and organized you are. You can also ask a local travel agency which specializes in visas to do this for you. That’s what I would do to avoid all troubles.
  • It is very smart to make copies of all your visa support documents before leave them in the consulate. The consulate will not return your documents. Except of course your passport with the visa of course.
  • After you pick up your passport with visa, you should check the dates before you leave the consulate! If there are mistakes bring it to the attention of the consulate immediately. They should correct it with minimal delay.
  • Make a copy of your passport and the visa before you travel to Russia, so you always have a back up if you lose the originals.
  • Read everything about the Migration card and registration in Russia.
  • Emergency Numbers in Moscow
    01 – Rescue Service, 02 – Police, 03 – Ambulance, 09 – Free Moscow City Inquiry Office, +7 (495) 622 2085 – Moscow subway lost and found office

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